Permanent Representative Hails Text’s Reaffirmation of Sovereignty, Territorial Integrity, Following Signing of Stockholm Accords
Calling on the parties in Yemen to implement their new agreement to halt combat in zones critical for delivery of life-saving aid, the Security Council today authorized the immediate deployment of an advance team to monitor compliance.
Adopting resolution 2451 (2018) unanimously, the Council endorsed the so-called Stockholm Agreements reached by the Government and the Houthis on 13 December 2018 on the mutual redeployment of forces from Hodeidah and its ports, as well as a mechanism for activating prisoner exchange and a statement of understanding on the city of Taiz. As a priority, the Council insisted that the parties fully respect the ceasefire in Hodeidah governorate, which came into force on 18 December, and complete force redeployment by 21 January.
By other terms, the Council authorized the Secretary-General to establish the monitoring team for an initial period of 30 days from the adoption of this resolution. It also authorized him to fulfil the request for the United Nations to chair the Redeployment Coordination Committee, and requests he update the Council weekly on progress and develop a proposal for full support to the Agreements by 31 December.
The Council called on the Government and the Houthis to remove bureaucratic impediments to flows of aid and commercial supplies, including fuel, and on the parties to ensure effective functioning of all of Yemen’s ports and supply lines and the secure reopening of Sana’a airport for commercial flights.
It further called on the Government, with support from the international community, to transparently strengthen the economy, calling also on the parties to work with the Special Envoy to strengthen the Central Bank of Yemen and to deliver payment of pensioners and civil servant salaries. It invited international financial institutions to provide appropriate assistance on the Envoy’s request.
Expressing deep regret at the loss of life and injuries caused by the conflict, including those caused by land mines and the killing, maiming, recruitment and deployment of children, the Council stressed the importance of all parties ensuring the protection of civilians and allowing their safe movement.
Welcoming the parties’ constructive engagement in Stockholm, it further called on them to continue to engage in good faith with the Special Envoy on immediate measures to be taken and by participating in a next round of talks in January 2019, following up on their renewed commitment to work on a durable political solution to the crisis, facilitated by the Envoy. It underlined the importance of full participation of women and the meaningful engagement of youth in the process.
Following the text’s adoption, Council members welcomed the unity shown in reaching consensus on the issue and called on the parties in Yemen to strictly abide by their obligations under the Stockholm Agreement, stressing that its signing has not by itself alleviated what remains a dire humanitarian situation, including the risk of famine.
Karen Pierce (United Kingdom) added that the resolution reiterates the Council’s full support for the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy and the political process he is driving in Yemen. She also highlighted the importance of international humanitarian law in the crisis, calling for those who violate it to be held accountable. The parties must now deliver real improvements on the ground to make a tangible difference for the people of Yemen, she emphasized.
Olof Skoog (Sweden), pledging his country’s readiness to participate in the United Nations presence to be established in Hodeidah, acknowledged that the resolution does not address all the issues making up the multifaceted crisis, but the implementation of the ceasefire and the other measures laid out will provide much-needed steps in that direction. He called on the parties to continue negotiations in January with the same level of commitment that they exhibited in Stockholm, noting that his delegation will co-host a pledging event for the United Nations humanitarian response for Yemen on 26 February.
Rodney M. Hunter (United States), similarly expressed hope that the Agreements represent a first step to a political solution to the crisis, which depends on the parties fulfilling their obligations. While welcoming the adoption, he urged the Council to show the courage to call out those responsible for fomenting conflict and regretted that it did not call Iran to account for its responsibility for the suffering in Yemen, and its violation of international law with impunity.
Mansour Ayyad Sh. A. Alotaibi (Kuwait) similarly said he voted for the resolution to support the Special Envoy’s work and to alleviate the plight of the Yemeni people, despite that it did not address many other concerns he had. He hoped that all would respect the agreement in Gulf Council framework, the results of the national dialogue and relevant Security Council resolutions.
Lise Gregoire Van Haaren (Netherlands) stressed the need for women to be included in the way forward. She also underlined the need for accountability, notably investigations into violations of international humanitarian law. She thanked all Council members for placing the Yemeni people at the centre of their deliberations.
Verónica Cordova Soria (Bolivia), also appreciating the hope that the resolution presents for the people of Yemen, regretted, however, that in the last 24 hours, Council negotiations evidenced the lack of transparency and the lack of respect for non-permanent members that she witnessed many times. Those principles were sorely lacking in its activities.
Ma Zhaoxu (China), welcoming the political will of the parties to accomplish a breakthrough in the Yemen crisis, said that going forward, the Council should fully consider the views of the regional countries, respect the sovereignty of Yemen, and make use of the United Nations good offices. The international community should help meet the basic needs of the population. “We have taken the first step in a 10,000 mile journey”, he said, adding that China stood ready to support the parties in reaching a lasting solution.
Francisco Tenya (Peru) underlined the Council’s clear responsibility to help a population facing some of the worst threats in the world today. It is necessary to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the conflict in Yemen, he stressed, adding that Yemenis will need international support to overcome the challenges ahead.
François Delattre (France), remarking that the adoption through an English text must only be seen as exceptional given the importance of multilingualism in the United Nations, nevertheless said the adoption demonstrated the concern of the international community to alleviate the situation in Yemen. The Council must closely watch developments to ensure that the parties strictly abide by their commitments, and it must continue to help the population overcome its immense challenges. Upholding Council unity will be essential, he added, pledging France’s efforts to that end.
Leulseged Tadese Abebe (Ethiopia) also called the Agreement a positive step in a long journey that must be facilitated by the United Nations. At the same time, parties must continue dialogue to reach a political solution to the crisis. Ensuring a step-up in the humanitarian response is critical, he added, stressing that the Council’s unity remains essential to ending the unspeakable tragedy in Yemen.
Kamil Krzysztof Mielus (Poland), also welcoming unity in the Council, urged parties to cease all indiscriminate use of weapons in civilian areas and employ proportionality and distinction in their use of force, taking all possible measures to protect civilians and infrastructure. Violations of international humanitarian law must be investigated, he emphasized, and the peace process must continue with the participation of all important groups, including women.
Dmitry A. Polyanskiy (Russian Federation), appreciating that the Agreement is supported by the Yemeni parties, welcomed the Council’s unity exhibited on the issue. Further support to the mediation work of the Envoy is now needed.
Abdullah Ali Fadhel Al-Saadi (Yemen), speaking last, thanked all those Council members who were instrumental in the adoption of today’s resolution, as well as States of the alliance that supported his country. He expressed hope that the Council’s unity will last until an end is brought to the coup d’état that had ravaged his country, and all resolutions are implemented. He welcomed that the new resolution reaffirms the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yemen and the need to base a solution on previous agreements, and calls for withdrawal of Houthi militia from the ports and other necessary measures.
Right from the outset in Stockholm, he recalled, his Government had tabled proposals to alleviate the humanitarian situation but the Iran-supported Houthis remained stubborn on those points. His Government is ready to implement the complete Agreements, he stressed, adding that lasting peace is not possible until the national Government is allowed to resume its legitimate position.
The meeting began at 1:16 p.m. and ended at 2:02 p.m.
The full text of resolution 2451 (2018) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its resolutions 2014 (2011), 2051 (2012), 2140 (2014), 2175 (2014), 2201 (2015), 2204 (2015), 2216 (2015), 2266 (2016), 2342 (2017) and 2402 (2018) and the Statements of its President of 15 February 2013, 29 August 2014, 22 March 2015, 25 April 2016, 15 June 2017 and 15 March 2018 concerning Yemen,
“Reaffirming its strong commitment to the unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Yemen and its commitment to stand by the people of Yemen,
“Reaffirming its support for and commitment to the work of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen (the Special Envoy),
“Reaffirming that the conflict in Yemen can be resolved only through an inclusive political process, as called for by relevant Security Council resolutions, including its resolution 2216 (2015), and statements as well as by the Gulf Co-operation Council initiative and implementation mechanism agreement and the outcomes of the comprehensive National Dialogue Conference,
“Determining that the situation in Yemen continues to constitute a threat to regional and international peace and security.
“1. Welcomes the consultations with the Government of Yemen and the Houthis convened by the Special Envoy in Stockholm from 6 to 13 December 2018, thanks the Government of Sweden for hosting the meeting, commends steps taken by regional and international leaders in support of the United Nations and notes the vital importance of making progress towards a political agreement to end the conflict and to relieve the humanitarian suffering of the Yemeni people;
“2. Endorses the agreements reached by the parties on the city and governorate of Hodeidah and the ports of Hodeidah, Salif and Ras Issa; an executive mechanism on activating the prisoner exchange agreement; and a statement of understanding on Taiz, as set out in the Stockholm Agreement circulated as S/2018/1134;
“3. Calls on the parties to implement the Stockholm Agreement according to the timelines determined in it, insists on the full respect by all parties of the ceasefire agreed for Hodeidah governorate, which came into force on 18 December 2018, and the mutual redeployment of forces to be carried out from the city of Hodeidah and the ports of Hodeidah, Salif and Ras Issa to agreed locations outside the city and the ports within 21 days of the ceasefire coming into force; a commitment not to bring any military reinforcements to the city, the ports of Hodeidah, Salif and Ras Issa, and the governorate; and a commitment to remove any military manifestations from the city, all of which is central to the successful implementation of the Stockholm Agreement, and further calls on the parties to continue to engage constructively, in good faith and without preconditions with the Special Envoy, including on continued work towards stabilising the Yemeni economy and on Sana’a airport, and participating in a next round of talks in January 2019;
“4. Welcomes the Special Envoy’s presentation of a Framework for Negotiations in Stockholm following consultation with the parties, and further welcomes the Special Envoy’s plan to discuss it during the next round of talks to pave the way for the resumption of formal negotiations towards a political solution and underlines the importance of the full participation of women and the meaningful engagement of youth in the political process;
“5. Authorises the Secretary-General to establish and deploy, for an initial period of 30 days from the adoption of this resolution, an advance team to begin monitoring and to support and facilitate the immediate implementation of the Stockholm Agreement, including the request for the United Nations to chair the Redeployment Coordination Committee and to update the Council within one week;
“6. Requests the Secretary-General to submit proposals as soon as possible before 31 December 2018 on how the United Nations will fully support the Stockholm Agreement as requested by the parties, including, but not limited to: substantive monitoring operations for the ceasefire and mutual redeployment of forces from the city of Hodeidah and the ports of Hodeidah, Salif and Ras Issa; playing a leading role in supporting Yemen Red Sea Ports Corporation in management of and inspections at the ports of Hodeidah, Salif and Ras Issa; and strengthening the United Nations’ presence in the city of Hodeidah and Ports of Hodeidah, Salif and Ras Issa, and to report to the Security Council on a weekly basis, invites Member States in a position to do so to assist the United Nations in carrying out these tasks, and recalls the commitment of the parties to facilitate and support the role of the United Nations in Hodeidah;
“7. Requests the Secretary-General to report on progress regarding implementation of this resolution, including any breaches of commitments by the parties, on a weekly basis, as called for by the parties, until further notice, and expresses its intention to consider further measures, as necessary, to support implementation of this resolution and all other relevant Security Council resolutions and to alleviate the humanitarian situation and support a political solution to end the conflict;
“8. Reiterates the need for the unhindered flow of commercial and humanitarian supplies and humanitarian personnel into and across the country, and in this regard, calls on the Government of Yemen and the Houthis to remove bureaucratic impediments to flows of commercial and humanitarian supplies, including fuel, and on the parties to ensure effective and sustained functioning of all of Yemen’s ports, onward road access throughout the country, and the reopening and safe and secure operation of Sana’a airport for commercial flights within an agreed mechanism; further calls on the parties to work with the Special Envoy to strengthen the economy and the functioning of the Central Bank of Yemen and to deliver payment of pensioners and civil servant salaries, and, in this regard, invites international financial institutions to provide appropriate assistance to the Special Envoy on request, and calls on the international community to consider additional funding for the 2019 UN Humanitarian Response Plan;
“9. Expresses its deep regret at the loss of life and injuries caused by the conflict, including those caused by land mines, and the killing, maiming, use and unlawful recruitment of children in armed conflict, stresses the importance of all parties to the conflict ensuring the protection of civilians and allowing their safe movement;
“10. Calls on all parties to the conflict to comply with applicable international law and to fulfil their obligations under international humanitarian law including to respect and protect medical facilities and personnel and their means of transportation, as such, and calls on them to protect civilian objects including schools and objects indispensable to the civilian population such as those necessary for food distribution, processing and storage, to withdraw any military personnel from civilian infrastructure, and to allow and facilitate the safe, rapid and unhindered access for humanitarian and medical personnel to all those in need, and reiterates that aid should be disbursed on the basis of need and be gender and age sensitive;
“11. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”